“Savasana is the most important posture.”Accepted Yoga teacher wisdom
When I began yoga, I didn’t believe this. I’ve seen the T-Shirts saying “I’m just here for savasana,” which make me smile. For me, savasana, or corpse pose (i.e. lying flat on your back and relaxing completely) was definitely not what I was there for….
Strong, flexible body? Yes please.
Physical and mental balance? Absolutely.
Inner peace and harmony? I’ll take that too…
But I have to lie still and do nothing? No, that sounds hard.
This isn’t that surprising. Much of western culture is built around notions of productivity, busy-ness and being always ‘on the go’, so it can be unsettling at first to consider doing the opposite.
But over time, I’ve made friends with savasana, and I think you can too. Here’s why it’s worth a try, and how to go about it…
Four reasons to fall in love with Savasana
- It allows you to notice and absorb the benefits of the practice. A lot can happen physically, mentally and emotionally during yoga. Yoga meets you where you are, but it does not leave you where it found you. You need time to let yourself catch up with that and to enjoy the differences.
- It rests the body after physical practice. In yoga, you are seeking balance between effort and ease, between strength and surrender. By its very nature, physical practice requires strength and effort. Savasana gives you chance to balance that by seeking complete relaxation, allowing the body to recover and rest.
- You learn the skill of relaxation. And it is a skill. When you scan through the body in savasana, you have a final opportunity to find any remaining tension, physical or mental and let it go. You learn how to consciously relax.
- It marks the end of your practice, creating space before you re-enter the rest of the world. If you rush out straight after the last posture, it’s too easy to immediately lose all the mindful connection with yourself you cultivated through your yoga. Savasana gives you chance to take stock, which helps you to sustain that connection afterwards.
Getting the most out of savasana
Know that there is no “wrong way” to do savasana. Whether you are able to relax or your mind races, allow that to be. Trust that the experience you have is enough, and is what you need right at that moment.
The biggest barrier to relaxing in savasana is likely to be your mind, and more specifically your thoughts. It’s important to begin to recognise when you are having thoughts that are holding you back – this is something meditation can help you with. Once you spot them,acknowledge them, and gently answer them with something kinder. For instance:
|Negative thought||Positive and kind alternative|
It’s pointless just lying here.
|Lying here allows me to absorb all the benefits of my practice.|
|I should be doing something more productive.||I deserve this time to relax and let go after my practice.|
|I’m too busy for this.||Savasana helps me balance the busy-ness of the rest of my life.|
If you examine them, so many negative thoughts come from an underlying belief that you are not good enough as you are. Let that go. It won’t be serving you in your yoga, and it certainly won’t be serving you in your life.
See whether you can allow yourself to dare to believe that what you are already enough. Whatever you think of savasana…
Happy relaxing lovely people!
I thought I’d revisit this post in order to recommend this soothing guided savasana on Youtube. It’s ideal if you want to incorporate savasana into your home practice, but struggle with ‘just lying there’!